I’m a regular user of the social forum, Reddit. From getting work to getting advice, it’s a powerful place to interact with people. One of the forums I frequently visit is r/designjobs. And constantly, there are jobs for logo and branding designers. The type of people posting these jobs range from startups to long standing companies to people looking for a family crest. Posters will describe what they’re looking for, and if they follow the rules well, will include a budget for the project. And just as vast as the type of jobs are the budgets for them.
Finding a budget above $1,000 is a rare discovery, and most of them drop well below $500. Many job postings have a detailed description of everything they want. Sometimes it gets pretty lengthy, including but not limited to: experienced designer, unlimited revisions, a dozen deliverables, and a 24 hour turnaround. And to top it all off, they don’t want to spend over $50. Understandably, this brings a bit of outrage from designers who are tired of being undervalued. They will call them out on such a cheap offer, some more diplomatic than others. Now, I understand the frustration, because when a logo can cost $5,000, someone only willing to pay $50 is insulting. But from the client side of the table, perhaps it’s not so cut and dry. After all, some logos are downright generic and simple, so why should they cost thousands of dollars? Can a $50 logo really be any worse that a $5,000 logo?
The Value of a Logo
The answer is no. If a logo is simply an image attached to a company, a $50 logo can sometimes suffice. Nike famously paid $35 dollars for their swoosh. The person who designed it was a student, not some swanky agency. It didn’t take hundreds of hours. But we can’t forget that Nike then spent years and millions of dollars to turn that swoosh into the most recognizable logo in the world.
Now Nike is the rare exception. But we still can’t say that a $50 logo is bad. It’s not bad if the company is only worth a $50 logo. That’s the kicker. A brand influences the public perception of a company’s worth. A logo is the main visual component of the brand. We can deduce that it would be crazy for a teenager running a lemonade stand to spend $5,000 on a logo. We know it’s crazy because their lemonade stand isn’t worth $5,000. For them, $50 is probably over budget!
But what about a restaurant that is trying to bring in high-paying customers? If they’re selling a steak that’s worth $50, certainly they should spend more than that for the primary visual element of their company! When a logo becomes an investment, it means a company wants more than a generic image. They want a researched, developed graphic that can support a brand being built upon it. So if you’ve determined you’re ready to move beyond an abstract, clip-art logo, then what should you expect to pay?
Budgeting for a Logo
Most designers price their logo designs by how many hours it takes. That’s a great way to ensure they are being fairly compensated for their time. But for the client, they should budget according to how much they value their business at. For a small size business, you should plan on spending between $1,000 – $5,000 for a branding package, (logo, business card, branding guide.) If that seems outrageous to you, I would suggest researching into the impact of branding, as well as scheduling a consultation so you can understand the value branding will bring to your company.
If you’re a medium to large size business, the price can range from $5,000 – $100,000, depending on what you need and who is going to supply it. When reaching this point, most companies realize that their lack of quality branding is what is getting in the way of their growth, so spending that much money is justified and required.
There is no perfect formula for how much a company should spend on branding, but as the largest companies in the world show us, you can’t put too much value in your company’s brand. Famous logo designer Paul Rudd stated, “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” It can’t be ignored, so if you’re tempted to drop $50 on a logo, take a moment to reflect on the value of your business. Chances are it’s much higher than that of a lemonade stand.
For more information about how to budget for a logo or visual identity design, check out this article.
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